Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia announced to the Aggie football team Thursday afternoon that head coach Doug Martin's contract has been extended.
The 3-year extension keeps Martin in Las Cruces through the 2020 season and solidifies the future of Aggie football.
"When Coach Martin accepted this job in 2013, there were significant hurdles the program faced such as APR scores, budget and on-field performance," Moccia stated. "Since then, Doug and his staff have worked tirelessly to improve our APR score. While our budget remains to be a challenge, we've made efforts to stabilize that the best we can and put a focus towards football. From a performance standpoint, specifically this year, it's evident to not only me but many others that there have been significant improvements from a competitive standpoint, which has culminated in us beating UNM and UTEP in the same season for the first time since 2002."
Martin inherited a football program that had never met the NCAA Academic Progress Report standards. NM State's APR multi-year score when he took over stood at 915, which was second to last in the league and led to the Aggies losing one day of practice a week. Fast forward to today and football's 972 APR score in 2015-16 was one of the best in the Sun Belt Conference, ranking it only second to Troy – who's score was just two points higher than NM State at 974.
"Four years ago we had a vision of building a football program at New Mexico State that would have great academic integrity and great players winning on and off the field," Martin said. "The academic side has been accomplished as we are the only coaching staff in NM State history to achieve the NCAA APR score for football and have now done it four-straight years. What people are now seeing is the on field performance starting to take shape thanks to our talented players and coaches."
There has been no doubt the Aggies improved significantly since Martin's arrival in 2013. The last time an Aggie team beat the Lobos on the road and the Miners at home in the same year was 41 years ago in 1976. The ability to have the same defensive coordinator back-to-back years for the first time since 2012-13 has played a critical role in NM State's success early on, tallying 12 sacks through four games. That's more than the Aggies had at season's end in four of the last five seasons (11) and only three shy of tying the total in 2015 (15).
"This contract extension is crucial for us to continue to recruit like we have and allows us to sell stability with our coaching staff to the recruits we need to keep moving forward." Martin said. "Our entire staff is grateful to Mario Moccia, the Regents, Chancellor Carruthers and the unbelievable support we have had from people in our community and Aggies across the state. Now we all look forward to finishing this season the right way and chase that vision down so that Aggie Football can be a source of Pride for all."
The media have also noticed NM State's vast improvement on the field, earning several mentions on the ESPN family of network as well as print and online. Players have also earned notoriety for their stellar play on the field. Jaleel Scott's touchdown catch was dubbed this season's catch of the year after the first week of action and is still considered so heading into week five. Shamad Lomax and Larry Rose III each earned recognition for their performance on the field from national award organizations while Dalton Herrington was named a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy from the National Football Foundation for his work on the field and in the classroom.
"With the 2018 schedule completed and being on the cusp of finalizing the 2019 and 2020 schedules coupled with this extension, I am confident that this will allow both Coach Martin and his staff to continue the upward trajectory of Aggie football for many years to come with the ultimate goal of a bowl game invitation."